Hamburg to Test Autonomous Shuttle Bus
The Hamburg Electric Autonomous Transportation (HEAT) coalition plans to begin testing a self-driving shuttle bus on public streets in the city next month.
The 10-seat electric vehicle was developed by German engineering specialist IAV Group. The shuttle, which can travel at a speed as great as 50 km/hr (31 mph), will make five stops along a 1.2-mile route.
In addition to lidar, radar and cameras, the minibus will communicate with roadside sensors and a central control center. Operators at the center will continuously monitor the vehicle and can remotely control it if necessary.
During initial tests, the vehicle will run without passengers and have a backup driver onboard. Passenger service with a safety driver is due to begin in mid-2020.
HEAT aims to have the vehicle operate autonomously (SAE Level 4) without an attendant by October 2021 in conjunction with the World Congress for Intelligent Transport Systems conference. As part of the run-up to the event, Hamburg is upgrading traffic lights to enable vehicle-to-infrastructure communication.
Other partners in the consortium include Siemens (V2I communications), Vattenfall (battery recharging stations), DLR (data analytics and consumer research) and the Institute for Climate Protection, Energy and Mobility (legal services). Hochbahn will be responsible for project management, implementation and operating the control center.
Many countries who once were major players from a vehicle production/export perspective are finding it difficult to even find their niche today.
Once the playground of exotic car makers, the definition of a niche vehicle has expanded to include image vehicles for mainstream OEMs, and specialist models produced on high-volume platforms.
By James Gaffney, Product Engineer, Precision Grinding and Patrick D. Redington, Manager, Precision Grinding Business Unit, Norton Company (Worcester, MA)